The delivery of recombinant genes into neurons is a critically important strategy for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying all brain functions, as well as for how these mechanisms go awry in brain disorders. A complementary and equally important strategy is delivery of inhibitory RNAs to eliminate or reduce specific brain proteins. Genetically engineered viruses provide powerful tools for introducing these constructs into brain cells. Indeed it is now possible, using a single virus particle, to both eliminate specific proteins and replace them with modified versions in specific subsets of cells in the brain. It is also possible, using viruses, to express proteins that will allow precise control over the electrical activity of individual nerve cells. These virally mediated molecular manipulations allow unprecedented experimental control over synapses, cells and circuits in model systems as well as in vivo in the mammalian brain.
To facilitate the use of these state-of-the-art methodologies by Stanford neuroscientists, the Neuroscience Gene Vector and Virus Core centralizes the process of producing and distributing viral vectors and cDNA plasmids. This benefits the Neurosciences Institute's overall mission by preventing the duplication of efforts by Stanford faculty and thus greatly increasing the efficiency of all of our programs.
Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact and interact with the Gene Vector and Virus Core as early in a project as possible. Many of the projects that fail are a result of mistakes that could be avoided if the virus core was consulted at an early stage. The virus core does not charge for advice or consultations.
- Adeno-associated viruses
- Others available upon request
- Plasmid construction
- Plasmid production
- Q-PCR and RT Q-PCR
- Infectious titer assays
- Transient transfections
- Stable cell line construction
- Others available by request
Services are requested through the Stanford iLab system. Specific instructions are provided for both Stanford and external users.
Some viruses are quite fragile because they have lipid membranes. Therefore, it is important to know how to store and use them. The virus core can generate high quality viruses but if they are not stored and used properly they may be inactived.
Numerous myths exist about the production and properties of recombinant viruses and vectors. Here, we address some of the most common myths.
The most common questions asked of the virus core are answered in our FAQ.
For consultation or service requests, contact the Virus Core staff.